Dear Tempdent Apprentice and Employer,
I hope that you and your families are all well and safe.
I am writing to reassure you about the status of your apprenticeship qualification during this unprecedented crisis. I am pleased to say that we have received confirmation from the Department of Education that it is their intention for Apprenticeships to be allowed to continue during the COVID-19 crises, and for Tempdent to continue to support apprentices and employers during this time to continue and complete the apprenticeship successfully.
Please see below how we will be able to support you, and attached some FAQs that have been sent directly from the Dept of Education;
How we are able to support you during COVID-19
Whether you are still working, or have been placed on Furlough, or even made redundant, you are still able to continue with your apprenticeship.
Due to Tempdent’s existing online model the following things are still continuing as usual;
- Weekly live webinars – you must still attend your weekly live webinar. If you are unable to attend your specific day please attend one of the other three sessions running for your cohort that week.
- Online learning platform – as always, you can access all of the information that you need to complete each unit of your qualification on our Tempdent Dental Academy elearning platform. The range of innovative and interactive elearning resources are available to you 24/7.
- Assessor support sessions – will be continuing as usual. As your assessors are now only home based they will be contacting you more frequently, and will be supporting you to make good progress in your e-portfolio during this time.
- Assessor/ tutor dental examination prep sessions – our assessor and tutor team will continue to work with you to gain the necessary knowledge to pass your dental exams.
- Maths and English Functional skills webinars and support sessions – our dedicated Functional Skills tutors are still carrying out online 1:1, small group and full cohort webinar sessions to enable you to use this time to gain the necessary knowledge to pass your Functional Skills exams.
- EPA preparation – our assessor team will also be continuing to prepare you to be successful in your End Point Assessment (EPA.)
- Academy Support – Our Academy Support admin team are available on the usual email address email@example.com and number 020 8371 6700 (opt 2) to answer any of your queries or assist you with any technical issues.
What has changed in your apprenticeship during COVID-19
The following areas of your apprenticeship have been affected due to COVID-19, but we are tirelessly working with the funding and awarding bodies as well as the Dept of Education to find work arounds during this time. They include;
- Examinations (Updated) – Folowing discussions with the awarding bodies we are now able to run face to face examinations in the practice, The responsibility for running the exams in accordance with the invigilation rules rest with the PM/ employer and must be adhered to. For any candidates that are due to take examinations we will make contact with the PM or Employer to discuss how this will work. Learners should not to make direct contact with our central teams about booking examinations although of course they should continue to discuss upcoming exams with their assessor.
- Workplace observations – as we are unable to physically get out to the practices at present to observe you we have asked the awarding body if we could either carry out video observations or obtain the evidence in another manner. We are again awaiting confirmation of what flexibilities will be available around observations during COVID-19.
- EPA observations (Updated) – The alternative to the End Point Assessment observation has now been approved by Ofqual, and from mid this week/ early next week learners will be able to do the alternative observation remotely either from home or in the workplace. This means that apprentices are able to finish the final part of the apprenticeship during lockdown. For those of you in the EPA gateway, or ready to enter the EPA gateway, your assessor will be in touch with you to prepare you for your EPA. Additionally NCFE (the awarding body) will be in touch with you to arrange the dates.
- Functional Skills at home pilot – Whilst we are able to book learners in for their Functional skills online exams in the workplace, there has not been an option for furloughed/ redundant apprentices who are unable to do the exams in their workplace. I am pleased to say that we have been asked to take part in a pilot that the awarding body is starting to run in the next couple of weeks for learners to be able to take their FS exams at home. I have confirmed our interest and will provide you with further information when I receive it. Please can those of you with Functional Skills exams still outstanding to work hard to prepare yourselves to take the exams over the next month or so . Please use the Skills Forward online resources and Tempdent Academy resources and webinars to prepare you, and ensure that you have taken and have passed mocks. If you feel you require additional support please inform your assessor, who can refer you for additional support.
Finally, during these uncertain times a lot of people are feeling the stresses and strains of lockdown and are feeling vulnerable about the unpredictability and worry over the virus itself. We have uploaded a number of wellbeing resources and support and guidance documents to the Tempdent Academy online platform. You will find them in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information resource tile.
Furthermore if any of you need additional emotional support please do not hesitate to contact our Educational Welfare Officer, Kat Michaels, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8371 7236.
Can I still continue with the apprenticeship if I have been placed on Furlough (through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) or made redundant?
Yes you can.
- If you are placed on furlough or unpaid leave you are still effectively working for your employer and will therefore we able to do all of the above parts of your apprenticeship that do not even require you to be in the clinical practice setting.
- If you have unfortunately been made redundant the dept of Education are still allowing you to remain on your apprenticeship whilst Tempdent finds you another job – which needs to be within 12 weeks of you being made redundant. If you are in the unfortunate position to actually lose your job please do not worry, we will support you, please contact your assessor who will put yoyu in touch with one of our recruiters who will try to help you find a new job to complete your apprenticeship.
How do I log the 20% Off the Job Training (OTJ) if I am not at work during COVID-19?
You continue logging the 20% off the job training as usual on your VQ Manager e-portfolio. In fact if you are placed on furlough, or have reduced hours, then please use this opportunity to do more hours than the usual 20% of your working week so that you can “bank” extra hours for when things get back to normal after COVID-19, and your employers will need everyone working to full capacity to resume their businesses.
What happens to my apprenticeship if I become sick, or have to care for someone during COVID-19?
If you fall sick, or are caring for someone sick with COVID-19, and are unable to attend your live webinars and undertake your 20% off the job training please can you let your assessor know immediately, so that we can authorise your absence.
In most cases people recover from COVID-19 within 2 weeks, so you will not need to take an “official Break in Learning” from your apprenticeship. If however, you are off for more than 4 weeks we will need to officially pause your learning, and once you are ready to return your learning will be resumed.
I am an employer and my practice is not working at full capacity during COVID-19. What are my options?
Whether you are a small or large employer our businesses are all going to be affected by COVID-19 in some way or another. Please see the below link for the host of packages that the government are making available to businesses so that they can resume after the crisis has passed.
Please can I implore with you from employer to employer not to make any of your apprentices redundant during this crisis. The government will be introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from next month whereby employers will be able to furlough their staff, and the government will pay 80% of the employees wages each month. The employer does not have to pay anything on top of that at all!
I can confirm that this scheme will also apply to your apprentices.
I hope that the above has been informative, and has given you the necessary information and reassurance that you can still continue your apprenticeships during COVID-19 – whether you are at work or at home.
I will be in touch next week with any updates. In the meantime please contact Lauren and Dan Redland on email@example.com or 020 8371 6700 (opt2) if you have any queries.
Stay Safe and Well everyone!